What Have You Learned About Running A Yoga Business?

Take at least one business class. Be sure you can run the business the way you want within the letter of current state, local, and federal laws. You don’t have to like all laws, but if you can’t abide by them, owning a business will cause you a great deal of suffering.

Make a business plan. Then assume reality will be different than the plan.  Prepare for any and every possible scenario. Have all your agreements in writing before you open the business. Know that whatever you hope never happens probably will happen because that is often how life works.

Hire a good lawyer, be sure you’ve trademarked and copyrighted your business and programs. If you hate the idea of “owning” a trademark or copyright, the fact is that you work in the United States of America. Someone else may very well legally lay claim on the name of your business or program and it can be pulled out from under you.

Know what you are good at. If you are not good at accounting or book keeping, don’t do the books. 

If you are running a yoga business or a business where you want to make a difference to others, “people skills” are essential. 

You must be able to make hard decisions, decisions that others may not be able to understand and decisions that because of confidentiality, you can’t explain. Caring about being liked all the time will be your demise.

There are times you will have to go to battle to defend what you believe is right or the business itself. People in our line of work tend to not like confrontation. Do so intelligently and with the intention of doing no harm.

Develop a strong spiritual relationship with the God of your own Understanding. Meditate, Pray often. Maintain your practice and self care rituals. 

Do not act on your first emotional impulse ever. Develop a practice where you “sit with” any circumstance or feeling that comes up before speaking or taking action.

Get used to making mistakes every day. And someone said to me, “if you are the best in the room, you are in the wrong room.” Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Know the difference between co-workers, colleagues, students and friends. Have a few trusted friends who are not part of your business and with whom you can confide.

Things will not turn out the way you planned, people will not come through the way you thought. Learn to “go with the flow” and trust that your business, like life, will unfold as it should. Your business won’t ever run itself perfectly because you can’t control it into perfect submission, especially if it involves “moving parts,” as in, other people. Think of it more as a living, breathing creature. Your work is to lovingly attend to what it needs.

Too many business owners get into a habit of not paying themselves or not taking care of themselves in other ways, and end up suffering as a result. Martyrdom is not sustainable.

Keep a pulse on those you are serving. You may have one idea of what your business will be about, but the people who are interested in what you have to offer inform your direction. Listen to your students or clients.

Get comfortable with apologizing often. Ultimately, you alone are responsible for everything that happens in your business. Always seek mutual understanding whenever possible, and give up the need to be right.

Question your own conclusions often. Especially snap judgments. The question, “is this thought I just had true?” comes in especially handy.

Seek wise counsel. Listen to their ideas. But at the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with your decisions. Once you have weighed in, trust your gut. Act from your own center.

Live ethically. Use the Yamas and Niyamas or any tried and true ethical guidelines and refer to them often. The cleaner you are in your dealings with others, the more likely you are to attract people with integrity. 

Truth and trust are your best friends. Surround yourself with people you can trust. Do the work on the inside so that when you communicate the truth, you do so with love or at the very least, don’t hurt people with your words. Even the difficult people.

Keep excellent records. Be able to pull up any file you may need in a moment’s notice.

If you hire people, remember that eventually they will leave and “institutional memory” will be compromised. Who will be left is you. Be certain that anything significant is written down.

You will likely become very close with those you work with because you will be working all the time. Personal and professional lines can get blurred. The fact is that close relationships are a function of the working relationship. The mother ship enables close relationships. Take care of the mother ship. 

Manage your time well. There is always something to worry about. You can work yourself to near death every single day. Create working hours and stick to them. If you are able to live without your phone during hours of the day, all the power to you.

Keep inspiration around you. Web casts. recordings, apps, books, read and listen to people that inspire you to keep your head out of minutia. Walk in nature.

Do not be a “helicopter boss.” When you trust the people you hire, you empower them.

Address issues directly as they arise. Anything you ignore or are confused by will later return as a larger issue. 

If you are working with a group, treat issues that arise as policy issues not personal issues. What looks personal often is really a result of unclear or undeveloped policies. Kindly communicated clear boundaries make professional and personal life so much easier.

You are always surrounded by everything and everyone you need. Every answer will be right in front of you and your work is to get out of your own way. A consistent practice supports this ongoing realization.

Everyone and everything is a teacher.

Get a dog. When you come home after a day of things you couldn’t control or can’t tell anyone about, your dog will always love you. If you aren’t into dogs, keep love close. Love supports proper perspective. What an opportunity we have in this precious human life to contribute to shaping a world of our own making, to grow people around us.

xoxo Jennifer